What A Crazy World We Live In – A Leonardo Da Vinci Painting sells for $450 Million And I’m Broke!

A rare painting (supposedly painted by Leonardo da Vinci) sells for an unbelievable $450 million dollars at Christie’s auction. Boy someone sure has too much money to burn, showing off the extreme spending habits (wastefulness) of the uber rich. Just send me 1 years’ interest (or even 1 month’s) on that money and I would no longer be broke and definitely set for life!

This Salvator Mundi (“Savior of The World”) painting, in question, was at one time sold for peanuts (in 1958) for around $100 as was believed to be a copy, the work of a painter (Giovanni Boltraffio) that worked in Leonardo Da Vinci’s studio.

Then in 2005, a group of art dealers (Robert Simon, Alex Parish & Warren Adelson known as R.W. Chandler Company) bought it for less than $10,000 at an estate sale. It was badly damaged, partly painted-over and had to be extensively restored.

Years later, after a consensus decision attributed the painting to Leonardo da Vinci, they sold it for a whopping $80 million dollars, and that buyer (swiss art dealer Yves Bouvier) flipped it within a year to a russian billionaire (oligarch) for $127.5 million.

Some experts (critics) say it is a fake and not a real Da Vinci painting, although the many art scholars and an identifying process it went through claims is real.

Who knows for sure if it is real or not, but the last person who bought it (Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev) for a whopping $127.5M made a hefty profit in a matter of an hour’s time that it took to be sold on auction for $450M. Before the auction at Christie’s started, it was valued (guaranteed) at a $100 million and that was the starting bid, which it quickly surpassed by a landslide to almost a half a billion dollars. Ah the uber wealthy show their indulgences some more for the world to see!

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Now that has got to be the biggest investor’s profit yet to be seen on one collector item alone, which just made a billionaire wealthier than he already is. Hopefully he will have better use for his profit then the one (fool?) who purchased it for that ridiculous amount of money. Who knows, maybe he thinks he can resell it for a billion dollars (since Christie’s was hyping it out loud at 2 billion dollars as the last da vinci painting) and maybe he can.

This must be some sort of (show off) game amongst the extremely rich, as there aren’t that many of them (a small group around 1,000 of them across the world) that can afford to purchase at a price tag like that just for a personal collection. Because surely it isn’t an investment? But maybe it is as look how much attention it drew, so the next time it goes on auction, it may top that price (one member of the small group will up the ante to show off some more of the whims of the wealthy). I can’t wait for that!

But since we don’t know the identity of the buyer of this rare leonardo da vinci painting, which has been circulating in private collection hands (as the rest of his paintings are in museums), it is  possible that a museum bought it. But that should be known soon enough, if the case. Just won’t know who if a private collector bought it (unless he comes forward), as those identities are kept secret (probably for burglarly reasons). And it was a wild bidding war that upped the ante to get the final price of $450 million dollars ($400M end bid plus a buyer’s fee on top). So according to how auctions work, whatever is the final bid price is what it is worth. Really? Who can understand the financial workings of the art world!

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At $450 million dollars this is the highest selling painting on auction thus far as the last highest one sold for around $180 million (Pablo Picasso’s Les Femmes d’Alger). And you have to wonder how a painting that you don’t know for sure is authentic and wasn’t in any good condition either (before restoration), can command such an exorbitant amount for it. I guess all I need is a Leonardo Da Vinci copy and I’m sure I could net an easy $50 million for it. Time to brush up on my painting skills!

What would I do if I had money like that to burn? Surely not buy a beat up old painting that looks like a male mona lisa (supposedly is Jesus Christ in renaissance-style robes with his right hand raised in blessing while holding an orb in his left hand), even if it is by the most famous artist of our time. So much good could be done with money like that, even just from the interest earned from it, not just to fulfill your own gluttony for high-end (unnecessary) material items.

But this the problem with many of the wealthy, it is never enough for them as more greed for money and extravagance sets in. It’s the beast of money that does it. Yes it’s not a good thing if you have too much just as it’s not a good thing if you have too little either. Where is the balance? Not in this money-oriented and material-minded world we live in. You might though find it on that new planet they discovered, Ross 128B, but not here on Earth, that’s for sure!

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As Madonna would sing “I’m a material girl living in a material world, it’s material”. Who knows maybe one day (when I hit my million dollar goal), I can own a painting like this (haha!) or at least give my cat the pampered life she deserves!

I will definitely nose around and update this post if I learn who bought this Da Vinci painting for an astounding $450 million dollar price tag. It is speculated that it may be some billionaire from China who is new to the field due to the wild increments of his bids (jumped $30 million in the final bid)!

And have a look at Thomas Campbell’s instagram (former director & chief executive of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art) on how the painting looked like before was restored by restorer Dianne Modestini. Also note the comments by former co-owner Robert Simon and Christie’s co-chairman, Loic Gouzer, in reaction to Thomas Campbell referencing the $450 million dollar price tag and the painting’s conservation issues.

*Update on the salavator mundi buyer: It’s been confirmed by the Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism (and Christie’s in New York), that they bought the Leonardo da Vinci Salvator Mundi painting for the record-breaking price of $450 million dollars. Saudi prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Farhan al-Saud was the middleman bidder who purchased it on their behalf.

These oil-rich middle eastern countries can well afford the very expensive price and the reason behind it is to diversify their economy away from oil, by investing in arts and culture. The Louvre Abu Dhabi (franchise of Louvre Paris), where it is going to be displayed, is a newly-built museum on a man-made island in the UAE capital. The part of the city’s plan is to use The Louvre to turn it into a cultural hub. They said they were eyeing this piece of art for a long time and could not let it get away as they thought they wouldn’t see another da Vinci painting in their lifetime.

This painting is now out of private collector hands and will be publicly displayed in the Louvre Museum in Abu Dhabi.

QOD: If you were a billionaire, would you buy this 500 year old painting for $450 million dollars?